Monday, August 8, 2011

5 Minutes With Christine Vachon of Killer Films

Christine Vachon produced Todd Haynes' controversial first feature, Poison, which was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival. Since then, she has gone on to produce many acclaimed American independent films including Far From Heaven (nominated for four Academy Awards), Boys Don't Cry (Academy Award winner), One Hour Photo, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Happiness, Velvet Goldmine, SAFE, I Shot Andy Warhol, Go Fish, Swoon, I'm Not There, Gigantic, Cracks and Cairo Time. Her latest and upcoming projects include a short film collaboration with ACE Hotel and online film content producers Massify entitled "Lulu at the Ace Hotel" as well as a five-part HBO mini-series adaptation of James M. Cain's 1941 novel, Mildred Pierce.

Q1. What was the first film you saw and what effect did it have on you?

The first film I saw (like most people my age I think!) was MARY POPPINS. Honestly though I remember more about crawling under the seats to retrieve spilled candy then I do about the film itself!
Q2. Your Filmography as producer reads like a history of independent film in America. Has Killer Films fundamentally changed since you co-founded the company in 1996?

I don't think Killer has really changed--- we're leaner and meaner now (there are 4 of us compared to about 8 ten years ago) and we are exploring many different opportunities besides feature filmmaking: television, web series, branded entertainment etc. But our fundamental goal has stayed exactly the same--go after stories that feel fresh and original.
Todd Haynes and Christine Vachon

Q3. How different was it for you to produce the recent HBO mini series Mildred Pierce compared to an independent film?

Honestly the physical production part was the same except A LOT longer--80 shooting days. For Todd and Kate especially, it was like running a marathon.

Q4. Do you think that the internet is changing the way films are being produced and distributed and if so, is it for the better?

I think the effect that the internet has had on how we consume media inevitably effects the stories we tell. The fact that pretty much anybody can now make a movie (on their cell phone even!)in the morning, get it on youtube in the afternoon and have 20,000 views by nightfall has changed the playing field. Ultimately I think that kind of access for all IS better-- it is also forcing filmmakers into more direct contact/relationship with their audience.

Q5. Both of your books "Shooting to Kill” and "A Killer Life’ are brilliant insider views of the film business, containing wonderful personal anecdotes. Is there a funny story that didn’t make it into books that you share with me?

Ha! No, I have to wait til a few more people die...

Velvet Goldmine (Ballad of Maxwell Demon - Shudder To Think)

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